The state Department of Health has given preliminary approval to North Shore University Hospital’s plan to establish Long Island’s first adult liver transplant program.
The plan still needs to be approved by state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, according to Northwell Health, the New Hyde Park-based health system that runs the Manhasset hospital.
Northwell said the adult transplant service is expected to be operational by December and would be placed within a new intensive care unit at the hospital. The program is expected to perform at least 20 liver transplants in its first two years.
“North Shore University Hospital has a service area of 5.3 million residents on Long Island and in Queens, but until now, patients with liver disease and their families have been plagued with a commute into Manhattan that is both burdensome and a true hardship, especially when you consider that the total transplant process can take up to three years,” said Dr. Lewis Teperman, vice chair of surgery at North Shore University Hospital and director of organ transplantation at Northwell Health, said in a statement.
There are about 1,100 New Yorkers on liver waiting lists across the state, including about 160 on Long Island and about 170 in Queens, Northwell said.
Northwell has established four organ transplantation programs in the last 11 years. North Shore University Hospital has been performing adult kidney transplants since 2007, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center has offered a pediatric kidney transplant program since last April.
This month, Northwell launched an adult heart transplant program at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital.
Seven other hospitals in the state perform liver transplants: Manhattan’s New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center and New York University Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
Northwell Health, with about 66,000 employees, is the largest private employer in the state.